The Evansville Courier and Journal, June 28, 1936

Article was typed as it was worded in the newspaper.

Thousands Visit Rockport Pioneer Village Annually;

Grows as Tourist Center

ROCKPORT, June 27,--(Special)—

Rockport, always a tourist center because of its nearness to the birth place of Abraham Lincoln and because the city itself has its own share of Lincoln lore, is gaining more recognition annually through the construction a year ago of its "Lincoln Pioneer Village."

The Pioneer Village, conceived by George H. Honig, sculptor and Lincoln historian, is being developed as the months pass, and on the Fourth of July as festival will be held to celebrate the completion of additional buildings and improvements in the village, which is located in the city park.

Since the village was dedicated last July 4, there have been more than 25,000 visitors from throughout the country. Every state in the Union has been represented in the crowds there at some time or another, and some have registered from foreign points. During the spring and early summer crowds of between 100 and 300 passed through the village every Sunday.


Not only has Rockport added to its aesthetic values through the improvement of the Lincoln village and park, but it has within the past year seen a gain in material things through improvement of the Rockport Water Works company. This marks the most progressive step in the community life within the past few months. Between $90,000 and $100,000 was spent in the purchase of equipment and remodeling and enlarging the plant.

A new electric turbine will increase the efficiency of the power plant, which now supplies light and power to Rockport, Grandview, Chrisney, Dale, Mariah Hill, Gentryville, Lincoln City and St. Meinrad.

Rockport’s water supply, which is pumped from a dept of 90 feet below the ground, is so pure naturally that it needs no mechanical purification. Filtered by nature by the gravel deposits through which it seeps, there is no need of a filtration plant. Nor is chlorination necessary.


Three new turbine water pumps have been installed, with a pumpage capacity of 1,000 gallons a minute, much more than the city’s requirements even during fire emergencies. There are two 125-000-gallon reservoirs, and a 75,000-gallon pressure tank in reserve. In addition to the electrically driven water pumps, a gasoline motor has been installed for use in the event of an emergency.

The utilities company was founded in 1887 by A. H. Kennedy and has remained within his family since, now being under the general management of his son-in-law, B. F. Huffman. Kennedy is president; his son, Clarence H. Kennedy, professor of entomology at Ohio State university in Columbus, is vice president, and his daughter, Mrs. Huffman, is secretary and treasurer.

Among the improvements at the Lincoln Pioneer Village are a log church modeled after the pioneer Old Pigeon Baptist church which stood not far from the Lincoln home; a half-mile race track and a barn that will house 24 race horses; several new cabins, and a lake with an island in the center. The island is reached by a rock bridge, and on the lake shore will be a corn cracker mill such as were in use during Lincoln’s time in southern Indiana. The island has been beautified with evergreens and shrubbery.


A flatboat such as Abraham Lincoln and Allen Gentry used in their trip down the river to New Orleans in 1828 is to be seen on the lake. The lake itself is 400 feet square and the island is 175 feet in diameter.

Among the houses represented in the village are the church, which has puncheon seats and will seat 300 persons; the Lincoln cabin which Thomas Lincoln built, with it lean-to kitchen; the home of Daniel Grass, who entered the first land in Spencer county; the Azel Dorsey cabin, in which the first court in Spencer county was held; the Grigsby cabin, which belonged to neighbors of the Lincolns; the Jones store, in which the youthful Abe clerked; the Gentry mansion, the home in which he Lincolns stayed on their last night in Spencer county bfore leaving for Illinois; and the John Pitcher law office, which was located in Rocckport and to which young Abe walked 17 miles to borrow books.